May we never underestimate the impact of our thoughts and behavior on our children. Especially so, if it is a pattern of repetitive behavior. There is something so powerful about seeing your father and mother doing something. It will inevitably become your pattern unless God helps you to do otherwise. Parents, if you know something is contrary to God’s principles, for the sake of your family, acknowledge that it is wrong. Own your mistake, setting your children free from the same chains that have held you.
How do you handle the problems that come your way? How do you handle rejection? That’s important because your children will most likely respond as you do. Is anger still a problem? Do you find yourself disconnected from your parents? Do you find it difficult to resolve conflicts that arise? Your children will catch your patterns, whether good or bad!
Abraham had a weakness when it came to lying. Twice he lied to important men about his wife because of fear. He told them Sarah was his sister instead of his wife. Not surprisingly, Abraham’s son Isaac lied about his wife in the same way.
Isaac demonstrated learned helplessness when he said Rebekah was his sister instead of his wife. He believed he was a victim and that he could not escape his circumstances. The victim mentality is always paralyzing because it causes us to forget who we are in Christ. It makes us believe that God is small and incapable of helping us in difficult situations. Isaac acted out of fear, which placed him and his family in danger. Understanding that God is always with us alleviates our fear and helps us overcome the temptation to compromise our faith. God’s presence strengthens our commitment to faithfulness.
Victim mentality is very present in marriages today. You can see it by how much blame is deflected on the other. It is so much easier to blame your husband or wife for what is not working. When a person owns their situation, they look for ways to improve the problem instead of blame others. They ask themselves questions like, “How can I help with this problem?” “How can I get through this with a good attitude?”
As believers in Jesus Christ, who believe that God’s presence is always with us to help us and protect us, we have no reason to have a victim mentality. It doesn’t matter what we face; God will be there to accompany us to the other side. The one area that demonstrates God’s presence in our lives so powerfully is our ability to maintain our integrity while resolving our conflicts. If we do this, our children will learn from us about this essential life skill.
The crucial issue is whether or not your children learn to resolve conflict. If they do, they will benefit from it their entire lives. Conflict resolution teaches children the necessary interpersonal skills that are essential in developing healthy relationships. The exposure to conflict is caught by the children and becomes a reciprocal pattern for the whole family. Some children learn the dysfunctional pattern of avoiding conflict and others how to perpetuate it, but strong children learn the essential thing about conflict—how to resolve the friction without blaming others.
Parenting with a Long View